It was the early 1970s. Nancy’s, Sherry’s, and Melinda’s stories were about to come together.
After nearly a decade of marriage and the heartbreak of numerous miscarriages, Nancy had given up on carrying a child of her own to term. But she decided to not give up on becoming a mom. Although her husband wasn’t thrilled with the idea of adoption, he knew it was what she wanted. And he knew she felt incomplete without a family of her own. Nancy had always wanted to be a mom. And everyone knew it.
A family whose single daughter was pregnant got in touch with them. They wanted Nancy and Glen to raise the baby they wanted nothing to do with. It was the best solution for them to deal with an embarrassing situation.
The baby was born. And she was perfect. Nancy was amazed.
So was the birth family. They decided they couldn’t let her go.
Another heartache. Nancy had to believe that the little girl just wasn’t hers, and God had someone else in mind for her.
Starting her senior year of high school, sixteen-year-old Sherry may not have been sure about the dreams she’d pursue as the next few years unfolded, but having a family wasn’t something she planned any time soon. Life was full of other things she wanted to do before she considered motherhood.
But she was pregnant.
Sherry’s mother had more than enough to deal with without adding a baby to the mix. She was raising three girls on her own since her husband died, and caring for her ill mother. She gave Sherry three choices: marriage, abortion, or adoption.
In January 1973, two months after Sherry’s seventeenth birthday, the US Supreme Court decided that women throughout the US were free to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Abortion had been legal in New York, where Sherry lived, since 1970.
Because Sherry chose to give birth to the baby she wasn’t ready for, Nancy became a mom in April.
Sherry finished high school, and went on with her life.
Nancy’s father wasn’t onboard with the adoption idea. It made sense to him that the family had backed out. Blood was blood. A child his daughter claimed as hers wouldn’t be his blood. He didn’t know how anyone could just accept someone else’s child as family. He was sure he couldn’t consider the baby his grandchild. At least not until he met… me.
As the first girl grandchild (my uncle had three sons) I would always be Grandpa’s favorite granddaughter. It’s easy to be the favorite when you’re the only one, right? But I was his granddaughter. His. He couldn’t deny it as soon as he held me. It must have surprised him to love me just as much as if I was his blood, right from the start. It didn’t take him any time at all to get used to the fact of me once I arrived.
Before my parents brought me home, I was an unknown. But that’s mostly true of any baby, especially before the age of sonograms. My grandfather didn’t know much about how I came into this world, but he knew I was family.
Now I have a family. My oldest just turned 16 and is learning to drive. He’s thinking about college. He’s friendly and helpful and smart. My youngest is almost nine. She has freckles and wears glasses. She likes pink and purple and blue, and loves to talk. My middle child is 12. He’s not as outgoing as his siblings. Freckled and red-headed like his sister, he’s creative and funny. He loves to draw pictures that tell stories.
I could tell you all sorts of more things about them, like how they enjoy helping, playing soccer, and taking pictures.
The world wouldn’t be the same without them.
But if Sherry had exercised her right to choose abortion over my right to life, none of us would be here.
We’re missing so many unique souls since 1973.
Stigma and Questions
Stigma that surrounds the issue of adoption was deeper when mine took place and while I was growing up. I remember a neighbor, a friend, telling me my parents didn’t love me as much as hers loved her, and her big brother, and her big sister. Because I wasn’t theirs. I had no idea what that meant. My parents were always open with me about the fact that I was adopted, but, at the young age my friend tried to enlighten me, I couldn’t really understand.
When a family grows by adoption instead of by birth, the children may not be genetically related, but have the same legal standing as if they had been born into the family.
Does every adoptive mother love her child as her own? No. But not every woman who raises a child she gives birth to does, either.
Will adopted children have questions about their birth and their biological family? Probably.
I know I did. I still do.
Identity can be tricky, especially in adolescence.
But all adoptees need to understand that if they don’t feel complete without knowing, meeting, establishing a relationship, or whatever, with biological family, they won’t feel complete with it, either.
It’s natural to want to know.
Where did I get my green eyes? Do I share DNA with someone who shares my love of words? Does mental illness run in my biological family? What about cancer?
Questions are natural. But answers aren’t magic.
Whatever your genes predispose you to or don’t, you are you. You are meant to be whole whether or not you know who your biological parents are.
Read more of my adoption story on Fruit of Brokenness.
Adoption Isn’t Just for Babies
Infant adoption is a beautiful, hope-filled option that affirms the dignity and worth of both the woman not ready to be a mother and the unplanned baby.
Adoption creates and builds a family for parents longing for one.
Not all children in need of a family are newborns. There are thousands of kids in foster care in the US, where I live, and thousands in Canada and Great Britain. Australia calls it out-of-home care. Wherever you live, there are children of all ages waiting for forever homes, as well as those who need good foster homes.
How has the Blessing of Adoption Touched You?
I’d love to hear your story. Share below!